Vision Boards for Artists, Writers, and Managers: Seeing It Is Believing It

I was making vision boards back in Medieval Times (aka, my college days).  I had a fridge door covered in  GQ cut-outs of hot punk men with thunderbolt earrings and turned-up collars and several poster boards of styles I wanted to wear and shapes I wanted to be, also cut-outs from my favorite women’s magazines.

When I began writing novels for Silhouette Books in the 90’s, I had posterboards with plot points and pictures.  I had composition books of the kinds of houses or cars I wanted and how I wanted to decorate my homes.
Just entertainment?  No.  And looking back, I can now see that most of my vision boards did come true.  Yes, even the hot men with earrings and turned-up collars who gave fantastic foot rubs and knew the latest in music.

For most of my life, I’ve done the kind of work that is hard to see, at least until it’s done. My dual careers have been in mental and creative fields, where the product was most often intellectual property. Sometimes it’s hard to stay on track and keep producing when you can’t see the end result for many months and there’s no evidence yet of the work that’s been done.

If I were to knit a scarf, you would be able to see the yarn and pattern before you saw the finished product.  If I were to photograph a party, you could see the digital photos in the view screen even before I transferred them to my hard drive or posted them on Facebook or printed them.  If I were pruning the shrubs outside your office, you’d see prunings on the ground.  If I were digging a ditch, you’d see a hole and dirt.  But for writers and managers, it’s harder to keep in mind what the end result should look like, so I use vision boards as guides…reminders of what is to come.
I’ve found that, when managing people, it’s helpful to sketch each person under my supervision and picture how I want to develop their talents.  Are they holding awards in their hands?  Are they smiling at their new promotions?  Are they wearing a sash that proclaims them to be the lead xyz on a particular program?   Those vision boards, I keep entirely to myself, though I occasionally share those ideas with those involved.

For my writing, vision boards are even more fun.  They’re almost always mock-ups of book covers.  I have a blast creating them, and sometimes, they give me ideas for the book.  And sometimes they won’t stop giving me ideas and turn into a whole series of books! But they do help me immensely to stay on track, and any time I wonder if I might put away the manuscript for a while, all I have to do is look at the book cover/vision board for inspiration.